Thursday, December 6, 2012

Home Sweet Home!

Photos below post.

Hello from the USA! We arrived Tuesday night to LAX, greeted by our families & our friends the Beck's who even brought Father Imo ( our community priest ) who gave Madeline her very first blessing in the USA! After a 12.5 hour flight directly from Guangzhou, Madeline did pretty darn good considering all the luggage hauling, security check ins, immigration process etc... She slept for about 3/4 of the flight and the rest she ate during our meal times, played some, cried when I changed her diaper & even threw a fit when I shared some of her cheerios with the little Chinese boy who was sitting behind us. & boy can this girl scream her lungs out! She sure let me know she was pissed off when she threw her own cheerio bowl on the airplane floor upon seeing that I took some from her bowl to give to this little boy ( who btw seemed to blabber during the whole flight "Nihao Nihao, XieXie Xie Xie, Mama Mama" over and over and over. He was about 2 years old ). This flight home seemed a lot more turbulant than our first flight over, but I still had no choice but to tough it out. I figured this was still a piece of cake in comparison to our overall travel experience which was pretty grueling. Kris & I were both fighting really bad sore throats, sore backs, sleep deprivation, stimulation overload, communication frustrations with the Chinese especially during security check ins & boardings, luggage overload, you name it.

However, after 32 hours of total flying, miles & miles of walking while in China, hotel living, potty squatting, and a rough start to our new family, we are very, very happy to report that it was all well worth it! Our Journey to our daughter Madeline has ended, as we now have her safely home. She is an entirely different child than the little scared kitten we had in our hands the first week we had her. She is a beautiful child, with a funny and wise personality. Despite the fact that she has only been with us for 10 days, she seems to know very well that I am her new mami, and thankfully she is finally starting to accept her new daddy ( he is no longer papi but daddy ever since she has started calling out to him with "daddy" during the last couple of days, I will have to post a video ).

Last night when we arrived to our home, after our family left, she stayed in my arms as we showed her around our house. Then after going to her room she wanted to be let down, babbled something in Chinese, giggled, and went straight to the bald baby that weighs about 5 pounds. She's been loving on this doll ever since, and has since learned to "bring the baby to mami, or daddy, or bring the shoes to put on the baby, or put the blanket on the baby". She also stretched her arms out to her daddy when she saw her pack n play in room & he lifted her up to put her inside & she giggled some more. Insert "Huge Smile on Daddy's face" here. She fell asleep about 3:30 am our time ( cuz she's still on China time ) and slept till about noon the next day, waking up only once ). Today, we had some family over & after reminding them to just ignore her and not try to engage her ( as she still acts a bit uncomfortable ), Madi was able to walk around them just fine, eat rice using her fork, drink juice from her lid-less cup and play with her toys, and even belted out a few giggles when we did something funny ). She really seems to be adapting exceptionally well. We are still in disbelief of this amazing transformation.

In recap, here's what we did during our stay in Guangzhou & what else we learned about our daughter Madeline:

We took Madeline to her Medical Examinations at an adoption designated clinic, where we met up with lots of other adoptive families. She did great btw, no crying. She still had somewhat of a runny nose, and a raspy cough, but overall good to go.

We went to the US Consulate about an hour away by private mini bus with the rest of the families from our agency -we were all sworn in as a group & given instructions pertaining to Madi's US Citizenship & Social Security card process.

We didn't go to the zoo as we wanted, as it was canceled due to rain.

We mostly hung around Shamian Island, which was more than great & had lots to do, is really calm and beautiful & we felt completely safe to walk alone for blocks with Madeline either strapped to me on the ergo or walking when she was comfortable, which was more often than we expected. There is a beautiful park there, lots of shops & restaurants, a bank, school, friendly people and pets walking the area, a boat cruising the island, a bridge that takes you out the busier city where there's lots of shops & weird food on sticks, which we were glad we opted out doing with the rest of the group feeling it would just be a bit too much for Madi who's still getting used to all this commotion. Her personality has sprouted so much more especially when it is peaceful around her.

We were stopped numerous times by strangers and lots of university students wanting to interview us regarding our experience while in China, or curious about our adoption, or take our picture.

Madeline made lots of new friends who wanted our email to stay in contact with her progress, lots of Europeans on "Holiday" and even Chinese locals.

She doesn't seem to mind eating out in restaurants as we did this quite a bit, except she will absolutely not sit on a high chair, she prefers my lap as daddy prepares her dishes ( so that she can feed herself either with a fork, spoon, or chopsticks, depending on the menu ). & cup with no lid please, and no straw is necessary either, thank you very much.

Madeline became quite the popular little gal while eating in public as people were fascinated with her chopstick ability.

She thinks its the funniest thing when I take her into the squatty potty with me and just start talking to her in English, while she's most likely just hearing noise but still likes to laugh at my poor squatting ability.

She has learned to retrieve things from another room when we ask her to "bring the toilet paper, bring the toothpaste, take these socks to daddy, take these glasses to mami.

She enjoys looking at her referral & update photos, smiling & pointing at her lips as if she knows very well it is her.

Have I mentioned that this girl can scream really loud? She must be feeling really comfortable with us as she has just started to test some boundaries. Sound like some fun times ahead of us. And she seems to know exactly which items to go for, like the buttons on the entertainment system, the hallway outlets, the bathroom cabinets. But overall she's not too grabby grabby, but curious indeed, which is normal & healthy for a year & a half old. And her little fits are very few and far between, lasting only a few seconds. ( daddy does not enjoy, but I think they are cute and funny considering all she's gone through).

On our first night home she actually was more than ok letting me take a shower in peace while she walked around with daddy checking up on me only twice & then shutting the glass door to the shower as she walked away.

She also closed the door on me while I walked through the hallway & she was in the bathroom with her daddy giggling. ( Ok little ms. "I've had enough of you mami, my daddy seems pretty cool now " )

On our second day home she was already reaching out to daddy to pick her up & hold her while he was on his computer and actually giving him kisses as I asked her to "give a kiss to daddy". She loves that he's got a cool swivel chair that he spins her around in....and she loves the pens in his office.....and all the little lights around his computer gadgets.....and the picture frames....and the calculator.....and she likes to stand on his desk to look out his window. So of course I said to him "You said you couldn't wait for her to reach out to good look with this kid letting you work from home, haha! ". -But after a while, I closed his double doors which have glass on them, and told her "daddy has to work now", and let her see him through the glass doors, and she seemed content.....for now.

Leaving you with a few pics:

Heading to her Consulate Appointment. Newest US Citizen to be!
We can't get enough of kissing those cheeks!

Madeline going to daddy all on her own on our last day in Guangzhou.

Learning how to take things to daddy during our last days in Guangzhou.

By our second day home Madeline was reaching her hands out to daddy for him to actually pick up & hold her.

Notice the car seat with baby doll to the right corner......Madeline HATES the car seat, so we are determined to play as much as we can using her favorite baby so we can go out for a drive with out her freaking out.
She still thinks we're in China where babies are free to ride on your lap. 

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